What is the best way to get rid of an earache? If you've got an earache, you know how intolerable the pain can be. Earaches, which often accompany colds or excessive swimming, always feel worse at night than during the day. If you're desperate to get rid of an earache fast, you'll need to first determine what the cause of your earache is and then use the appropriate treatment.
The Two Most Common Causes of Earaches
Chances are your earache is one of two types: an outer ear or a middle ear infection. An outer ear infection is called swimmer's ear, while a middle ear infection is referred to as an ear infection.
Swimmer's Ear: Cause
Swimmer's ear comes from a bacterial infection in the outer ear. Your ear canal is typically slightly acidic, preventing bacteria from growing and becoming a problem. Sometimes the PH of your ear canal changes or is inadequate to fight large amounts of bacteria and a bacterial infection grows in your outer ear canal. This can happen if you go swimming a lot and do not dry out your ear canal sufficiently; this is why the condition is referred to as swimmer's ear. It can also happen if the PH of your ear canal is out of balance and you submerge your ear in water in the tub or get water in your ear while showering.
Swimmer's Ear: Diagnosis
Swimmer's ear hurts when you touch the outside of the ear. Try tugging gently on the earlobe, pressing gently on the bump that sticks out from your ear and touching the general ear area. If it hurts when you touch these outer parts of your ear, you're dealing with swimmer's ear.
Swimmer's Ear: Treatment
The most important thing to do when dealing with swimmer's ear is to restore the acidic balance of the ear canal. You'll need to see the doctor to get prescription eardrops that will restore the PH balance and will fight the bacterial infection with antibiotics. Until you can see the doctor, dry out the ear canal by dropping a couple drops of rubbing alcohol in the ear canal. See the doctor as soon as possible.
Middle Ear Infection: Cause
Middle ear infections are caused by bacterial infections inside the ear canal, behind the ear drum. They are caused by a build up of liquid inside the Eustachian tube, which normally drains naturally. Children get ear infections more often than adults because their Eustachian tubes are smaller and tipped in such a way that they may not drain properly. An ear infection happens when the Eustachian tubes swell and do not drain well. They are especially susceptible to problems when a child has extra congestion due to a cold. The build up of fluid breeds bacterial, resulting in an infection that presses against the eardrum. In severe cases, the eardrum may rupture.
Middle Ear Infection: Diagnosis
If the earache is deep inside the ear and hurts more when you lie down, you have a middle ear infection.
Middle Ear Infection: Treatment
The best treatment for a middle ear infection is to decongest the Eustachian tubes. You can do this by taking a decongestant and sleeping sitting up in an easy chair. Most middle ear infections will resolve themselves without treatment or antibiotics if you manage to decongest the Eustachian tubes.
In need of earache relief? These tips will help you minimize discomfort so you can function and provide insight into how to prevent future recurrences.
When you've got an earache, you want relief and you want it now. This article answers the question: How do I get rid of an earache?